Endowment Code of Conduct

Providing an ethical framework for managing endowments

The Investment Management Code of Conduct for Endowments, Foundations, and Charitable Organizations (Endowment Code of Conduct) outlines ethical responsibilities for the sound management of longer-term financial assets. By adopting the Endowment Code of Conduct, you are establishing an ethical framework for governing body members and showing your commitment to the best interests of stakeholders and beneficiaries.


Endowment Code of Conduct


Endowment Code of Conduct Fact Sheet


Who Should Comply?

Organizations that manage long-term financial resources to support grant commitments or the operations of:

  • Charitable trusts
  • Endowments
  • Independent foundations
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Philanthropies
  • Public funds


What is Covered?

The Endowment Code of Conduct contains specific investment management-related standards for each principle, supplemented by best practice guidance and examples. The Endowment Code of Conduct principles can be applied to areas of the organization beyond the management of the financial assets. Organizations that comply with the Endowment Code of Conduct:

• Act with loyalty and proper purpose

• Act with skill, competence, prudence, and reasonable care

• Abide by all laws, rules, regulations, and founding documents

• Show respect for all stakeholders

• Review investment strategy and practices regularly


How Can We Comply with the Endowment Code of Conduct?

Complying with the Endowment Code of Conduct is voluntary. CFA Institute believes that effective self-regulation goes beyond the minimum requirements of the law. It is the most effective and efficient form of market regulation.

How Was the Code Developed for a Global Audience?

Step 1

Review your organization's existing code of ethics, policies, and procedures in comparison to the Endowment Code of Conduct and identify possible gaps or differences.

Step 2

Make revisions, as needed, to align with the Endowment Code of Conduct.

Step 3

How Was the Code Developed for a Global Audience?

CFA Institute reached out to the global endowment, foundation, and charitable communities for volunteers to help develop the Endowment Code of Conduct. Individuals from the following organizations were instrumental throughout the development process.

The Atlantic Philanthropies
Cambridge Associates
Commonfund Institute
The Conference Board
Council on Foundations
GIFE, Brazil
Institute for Private Investors
London Business School
Mercer Investment Consulting
The Myer Foundation & Sidney Myer Fund
National Association of College and University Business Officers
Philanthropic Foundations Canada
Philanthropy Australia
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Questions about the Endowment Code of Conduct?  Please email us at [email protected]

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